Philip Larsen leaves Edmonton Oilers; signs in KHL

Jonathan Willis
May 28 2014 10:01AM

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Philip Larsen was one of a group of players filed under “maybe” for the Edmonton Oilers this summer. The slight defender (who played what might have been his best hockey in a late-season stint at right wing) will not be back for next season, having opted to sign a one-year KHL deal instead.

What it means for Larsen

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This was a logical move for Larsen, who had some moments at the NHL level but was without question one of the problems on the Oilers blue line in 2013-14. It was questionable whether Edmonton would choose to qualify him; they would have needed to give him a seven-figure offer and that's a lot of money for a 'tweener. 

Larsen's skill-set should be a fit for the KHL, where teams play a more passive game. There, his strengths (passing, skating the puck) should stand out while his major weaknesses (particularly in front of his own net) should be tested less.

It's interesting that this is only a one-year contract, because Larsen seems like a guy born to play overseas and he spent four long seasons trying to make the NHL without ever really establishing himself. 

What it means for Edmonton

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Honestly, not much.

Larsen's skills were not a great fit on a blue line that already possessed his strengths to some degree and that certainly had his weaknesses. He might have slotted in as the No. 7 or No. 8 defender, but there are numerous options in free agency who are better fits in Edmonton. 

This does help frame the Shawn Horcoff trade to Dallas. Larsen's departure means that all that remains now is a 2016 seventh-round draft pick. Dallas took on Horcoff's salary and got a disappointing campaign but great playoffs (six points in six games, plus-five) in exchange. 

This may also impact Taylor Fedun's thinking on a return to Edmonton. Fedun and Larsen were competing for similar minutes, and while Larsen (inexplicably) won them this year he's now out of the way.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 TKB2677
May 28 2014, 02:01PM
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@Zarny

You are right, Horcoff didn't pull a Pronger and demand a trade. What he did do in the end of the year interviews is he indicated to Mac T that he would welcome a change of teams if the opportunity presented himself. So did Hemsky.

So there is a slight difference but not much.

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#52 Tikkanese
May 28 2014, 02:12PM
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Air on Egg blood wrote:

It seems each time someone either leaves the Oilers for Europe (Larsen, Belov, Reddox)or comment on the state of affairs with the Oilers (Hemsky, Smid, etc.) or refuses to come here (Heatley, Nylander, Clarkson), we Oiler fans only focus on the messenger. Ex: "he's not an NHLer, he's a jerk, his contract was bad," etc. At what point will we concentrate on the message: Players don't want to play here and it's not because of the weather. It won't change untill we get a better front office, a better coaching staff and a winning culture.

Nylander verbally agreed to a contract with the Oilers. His wife objected, so he went elsewhere. Nylander hardly refused Edmonton.

What you're saying is not true in all cases. Smyth demanded a trade to Edmonton. Souray and Khabby who were both the #1 UFA of their position on most lists chose Edmonton. Pronger happily signed a 5 year deal after the trade to Edmonton. He only left to save his marriage after his extra-marital affair almost ruined it.

You are correct that a winning culture would help sign more players. If Detroit had a losing culture I doubt any UFA would sign there unless severely overpaid.

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#53 LOIL99
May 28 2014, 02:18PM
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madjam wrote:

We are down to Fraser , Ference , Petry, Shultz , Marincin and Petry on defence . Hard to imagine they'll keep Fraser . If Klefbom draws in that is probably 5 starting . Basically only 3 veterans of note plus two rookies one might say in Klefbom and Marincin . Are they going to fill ins ,rookies or upgrades on at least 3 more spots if they do not get and employ Ekblad ?

Forwards Smyth , Hemsky and Jones gone . Now what is going to replace them any better . I say better because it was obvious they were not enough . Gagner they are flirting with dumping and Yak appears to want out . That's possibly 5 more holes that probably will not see any upgrading .

We have two back up goaltenders vying for starter . Not much to get to excited about there .

Analysis : We get further and further away from a decent base for our emerging youth .

Yak wants out? Did he tell you that on the phone? Text? Snapchat? Grinder?

Casual fans on here who state that this player or that player thinks this thing or that thing are laughable.

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#54 MessyEH
May 28 2014, 02:42PM
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@Zarny

Justin Schultz is a sh*tty version of Justin Schultz.

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#55 Casey
May 28 2014, 03:35PM
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I never knew this day would come!! Thank you KHL!!! Now Larsen and Grebeshkov won't steal the 7th defensmen spot. Larsen was all right but c'mon do we really need another J.Schultz? I don't see why MacT chose another non-defensive player for our blueline. he isn't a fit here. Now can Mark Fraser make his way out?

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#56 David S
May 28 2014, 04:20PM
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Soccer Steve wrote:

If Horcoff doesn't sign that big contract (which ALL of us would've, to a man) I wager he'd retire an Oil legend(-ish).

How nice would it be to have another veteran third/fourth centreman, one who is capable of moving up in a pinch, to mentor Nuge and our new pick coming this year? To show what it takes to be a professional. To take some burden off Boyd too.

All you haters who wanted him gone because he was cashing cheques of someone else's money...enjoy your 7th round pick.

Soccer Steve FTW!

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#57 LoweBlow
May 28 2014, 11:53PM
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How does this not make the Oilers worse? Fewer options now.

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#58 Harry2
May 29 2014, 02:40PM
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The Horcoff trade makes no sense to me. He would have been a perfect #3C last year on a team that was awful in terms of depth at the position. Hindsight is 20/20 but I think that was a very bad trade considering the cap room we now have. Not to mention a buyout could have been a betrer option considering all they got was a 7th rd pick

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